Midwest Conference Considers the Changing Face of Christianity

Post a Comment » Written on May 1st, 2009     
Filed under: News
MASON CITY, IA (May 1, 2009) – Superintendent Ken Carlson told delegates to the Midwest Conference Annual Meeting that many of their churches are at a crossroads because people outside the church, and even some within it, are no longer pursuing Christ.

The number of people unaffiliated with any faith has doubled in the last few years, he said. Only 20 percent of people in any community attend worship services each week.

Carlson added that the makeup of Christianity also has undergone a radical shift. He explained that 80 percent of Christians are non-white, non-western and from non-northern hemispheres.

In his report, Associate Superintendent Rick Mylander exhorted congregations to consider parenting new congregations. There was a video presentation of a second site church plant by Hillcrest Covenant Church, Prairie Village, Kansas.

Even as delegates looked to planting new churches in the future, they approved the closing of New Beginnings Covenant Church—formerly First Covenant Church—in Denver, Colorado. The church began in 1898 and closed last year. It is considered the “mother church” and grandparent of all Covenant churches in the area.

Carlson noted that the congregation’s ministry would continue because it was a “Living Legacy” church. Proceeds from the sale of the church will be used to promote church plants.

Interspersed throughout the meeting were eight stories of individual and congregational transformation. “It was a real celebration of God’s faithfulness,” Carlson says.

Stories included the growth of Stotler Covenant Church in Osage City, Kansas. In need of a new start, the church moved in to the city from its location seven miles outside the city limits. Initially meeting in a local school, the church opened its new building in September and seen an increase in attendance.

Carl Elwood, the pastor of the Covenant congregation in Mountain Village, Alaska, also addressed the delegates. The conference is partnering with the church to upgrade the parsonage and work on other projects. For a previous story, click here.

In other business:

  • A special offering of $1,103 was received for the Mountain Village, Alaska, partnership. Carl Elwood, pastor of Mountain Village Covenant Church, gave a testimony of the church’s “peanut butter and jelly cracker” ministry to children after school and the challenge to take up the cross and risk suffering for other people.
  • An offering of $1,192 was received for the conference ministers’ crisis fund.
  • Delegates approved a budget of $813,793 for 2010.
  • Conference leaders presented delegates with an amendment to the conference bylaws to be acted upon at the 124th conference annual meeting in 2010. The proposed amendment would change the term of office for MWC executive board members to two-year terms with the potential of serving up to three terms.
  • Larry and Kathy Lindgren, of Lindsborg, Kansas, extended an invitation to attend their church in 2010 for the conference’s 124th Annual Meeting.

There were 97 voting delegates at the meeting representing 43 churches, along with camps, executive board, institutions, and organizations for the conference

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